Articles by JCS

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Back pain is an enigmatic problem that plagues the entire world. Although not deadly, it is the #1 disabling condition in the world that costs the US over $300 billion and $600 billion globally and only getting worse. Compounding this problem is the research showing that medical spine care has proven to be “inefficient,” based on a disproved disc theory, and less clinically and cost-effective than non-medical care like chiropractic.

Mark Schoene, editor of The BACKLetter, an international spine research journal, recently summarized the research consensus when he stated: “Spinal medicine in the US is a poster child for inefficient spine care.”[1]

Mr. Schoene also admits in his latest edition, “such an important area of medicine has fallen to this level of dysfunction should be a national scandal. In fact, this situation is bringing the United States disrespect internationally.” [2]

Yet CNN.com has published nothing about this “national scandal” nor did Dr. Gupta fulfill President Clinton’s request in the program, Deadly Dose, to hold a “national discussion” about deaths from painkillers taken principally for back pain.Obviously there is a censorship @ CNN.com about the real issues facing this back pain dilemma in the nation and world--the misuse of drugs, shots, and spine surgery and the boycott of chiropractic care.

Over the past few years, there has also been a continuing flood of newspaper articles revealing the over-use, expense, and inefficient nature of medical spine care (opioid painkillers, epidural steroid injections, and spine surgery).[3]

This issue recently became a topic again in the news except @ CNN:

       The ineffectiveness of medical spine care diagnosis and treatments has now burst onto the national scene with a flurry of yet more articles after a recent July 29, 2013, investigation in the JAMA Internal Medicine highlighted the Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain. The authors of this study admit, “Back pain treatment is costly and frequently includes overuse of treatments that are unsupported by clinical guidelines.”

This article went viral overnight in the mainstream media except @ CNN.com:

Recently on August 20, 2013, even The New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial, Outpatient Back Pain Treatments: Not What the Doctor Should Order, by Jaime Toro, MD, concurred by stating,Treatment of back and neck pain increasingly relies on strategies that run counter to published guidelines.” These strategies may run amok to the research and guidelines, but they still make billions for spine surgeons.

          On
October 27, 2013, Washington Post published yet another critical article: Spinal fusions serve as case study for debate over when certain surgeries are necessary by Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating. This is a must read and includes the frank conclusion:

"But at a broader level, the rapid rise of spinal fusions in the United States, especially for diagnoses that generally don’t require the procedure, has raised questions from experts about whether, amid medical uncertainty, the financial rewards are spurring the boom."

             On January 13, 2013, NPR national radio did an article on back pain that was critical of medical spine treatments, but once again made no mention of chiropractic care or joint dysfunction whatsoever. Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It by Pattie Neighmond and Richard Knox

Audio for this story

           It’s time to call NPR on the carpet for their professional amnesia. However, NPR has never replied to my complaints and even censored my first Comment when I mentioned its history of ignoring chiropractic care as a topic as I wrote in Missing in the Media.

         Here’s an excerpt from that article about the lack of programs on NPR about chiropractic care:

 The boycott of the chiropractic profession in the media is more pervasive than I could have ever imagined. When I researched the frequency of chiropractic as a topic on my favorite NPR programs, I was startled by the findings:

·         All Things Considered: 8 of 87,252 segments since 1990 =             0.009%

·         Morning Edition: 4 of 79,782 =                                                              0.005%

·         Talk of the Nation Science Friday: 0 of 1,918 =                                   0.0%

·         Weekend All Things Considered: 0 of 5,346   =                                   0.0%

·         Fresh Air: 0 of 1,286  =                                                                              0.0%

·         Talk of the Nation: 1 of 9,485 since 1997 =                                           0.01054%

 

This accounting shows only 13 articles on chiropractic in 185,069 segments on these NPR programs which equates to a frequency rate of only 0.0070091%.[1] Considering the fact that the chiropractic is the third-largest physician-level profession in the world, the scarcity of accurate news coverage is appalling.

          After a century of medical persecution, today the facts show chiropractic care has been vindicated as a “proven treatment” for low back pain according to an agency of the USPHS[4] and half of back care in the US is now delivered by chiropractors alone,[5] which explains why chiropractors lay claim as “America’s primary spine care providers[6] in this pandemic of back pain that has now become the #1 disabling condition in the nation.[7]

          Despite the new science and guidelines that endorse chiropractic care, the "politically-correct" news media has ignored this finding. While they may be willing to criticize medical spine care, apparently these so-called health writers have a problem with recommending chiropractic care due to their own medical bias as well as they must not understand the real issue--patho-anatomical vs. patho-physiological issues in spine care. Indeed, they are not far enough up the learning curve in spine science to understand this concept.

A case can be made that these health writers are years behind the research. But when you expect experts, such as a spine surgeon like Sanjay Gupta to understand these issues, they continue to disappoint with their biased and one-sided articles. Indeed, this certainly is not "fair and balanced" reporting, but when it comes to the huge amount of money involved in spine care, these MDs are not interested in fair journalism nor telling the public the truth about the paradigm shift in spine care.

       It’s time for CNN.com to give chiropractors equal access to inform the public to a condition that affects millions of patients daily. Instead of progress, medical journalism @ CNN.com continues with biased articles such as R. Paul Offit’s Opinion: Alternative healing or quackery? that casts aspersions at CAM providers or Dr. Nick Shamie’s article,The Back Pain Most Surgeons Won't Findthat tells only a small part of the spine solution.  
Rather than harping on the one in a million sacroiliac joint patients who may benefit from titanium implants, medical journalists @ CNN.com should focus on the 90% who would benefit from chiropractic spinal adjustments.

Indeed, the censorship of chiropractic care @ CNN.com and @ NPR is the rest of the story in this paradigm shift in spine care. When this revelation finally goes viral in the mainstream media, these liberal and progressive news organizations will have a lot of well-deserved egg on their faces.

 

 



[1] The BACKPage editorial, vol. 27, No. 11, November 2012.

[2] US Spine Care System in a State of Continuing Decline?, The BACKLetter, vol. 28, #10, 2012, pp.1

[3] The BACKPage editorial, vol. 27, No. 11, November 2012.

[4] Bigos et al. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 14: Acute Low Back Problems in Adults AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642, (December 1994)

[5] Should Back Pain Patients Consider More Nonmedical Care? The BACKPage, vol. 28, #10, 2013, p. 120

[6] Donald R Murphy, Brian D Justice, Ian C Paskowski, Stephen M Perle, Michael J Schneider, The Establishment of a Primary Spine Care Practitioner and its Benefits to Health Care Reform in the United States, Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2011, 19:17

[7] The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States Bone and Joint Decade, Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. ISBN 978-0-89203-533-5, pp. 21.


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